On the Internet there are many pictures of cats hanging in the windows or cats that did not manage to land safely after falling from a window. Despite of many warnings accidents happen. I think the reason behind the accidents is more often disbelief that such an accident can occur rather than unawareness. The best example of this is my mother who despite a horrific accident still lets her cat out on a not secured balcony of her 8th floor apartment.
Spring is here…came quite surprisingly as I was still shivering with cold wearing thick sweaters on Friday and today I was too hot in a light spring jacket. Surprise or not, Spring is here and that is great but it also means we need to worry about open windows and balcony doors. There will be more accidents, strangulations and missing cats and the beautiful weather is to be blamed for these because we seem to lose our common sense and instead of securing the windows and balconies we think that our cats are smart and will not hurt themselves.
Well cats do not want to hurt themselves on purpose but they are driven by instincts which we need to consider.
The example I often give is of Sara, my mom’s cat, a “cat that wanted to fly”. My mom lives on the 8th floor and she has had Sara for about 7 years. Sara, like any cat, is very interested in birds and loves to observe them from the balcony. One day my mom came back from work and Sara was not home. It turned out Sara jumped from the balcony running behind a bird. Sara’s story is quite incredible and I wouldn’t believe it if I heard it from a friend of a friend but because she is my mom’s cat I know she survived that fall. And it was a fall from about 24 meters. And to make it even more amazing, she fell on the back side of the building, she walked around to the front and hid by the neighbor’s door. Although she was never taken outside, she found her way home. Miraculously Sara did not die, did not even get hurt and did not become homeless but this is a story one in a million. Cats that fall from higher than fourth floor have very little survival chances.
Cat that falls from a window can sustain damaged or crushed skull, broken teeth, hemorrhage, broken bones, spine and internal organs injuries… there are many unpleasant consequences of falls and I believe nobody would want their cat to suffer from any of them.
Even if you do not open the windows or do not have a balcony it does not mean you have nothing to worry about. It happens quite often that cats hang themselves on a half-open windows. We need to be cautions even if our cats are not the jumpiest and most curious. There are special stoppers available in pet stores and Ikea which also serve as anti-robbery tool. With a bit of creativity you can make your own window and balcony protection for example out of a cheap and easily available mole net.
Let’s remember that depending on where the cats get stuck in an open window they can struggle themselves, pull their paws from the joints, injure internal organs and spinal cord. Very often they die of exhaustion and pain as they can hang for hours and trying to free them can speed up their death.
We have to be really really careful and just because your cat has not fallen out the window yet it does not mean it will not happen in the future. And even if the cat manages to get out of the trap it will most likely die a terrible and painful death.
Just the thought that my beloved Dixi and Miciula could become homeless or crush their skulls because of my neglect makes my hair stand on end and I feel fear, sadness and anger. So before the spring warmth came I called a professional who made my new big balcony safe and secure for Dixi and Miciula. Obviously it will take awhile for them to get familiar with a new place but when they are ready they can walk around, breathe fresh air (if you can call city center air fresh) and enjoy Spring sun in a safe way. In the previous apartment, where I did not have a balcony, I used to place a screen in the window to let my pets enjoy the sun and fresh air from a windowsill.
If you have a cat, I would like to ask you to give up an esthete in you and be as caring an owner as possible to prevent animal homelessness and cats dying horrible and unnecessary death.
What you should secure:
– balconies – you can either call a professional to put a net or get a fishing/mole net and few hooks in the store with construction materials and do it yourself
– windows – the best solution is to order a custom made screen
– half open windows – you can get screens in pet stores (also online) or stoppers in Ikea
If you have your own way to protect your pet please feel free to share.